A committee following up on the implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, in Jamaica, has recommended that the country should strengthen the work of the Office of the Contractor General.
The Committee of Experts from the Organization of American States, OAS, arrived at their conclusions after reviewing the oversight bodies in Jamaica which have responsibility for the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of acts of corruption.
The examination by the OAS took into account Jamaica’s response to a questionnaire and information gathered by its Technical Secretariat from an on-site visit conducted from April 1 to 3.
The report recommends that the work of the OCG, the Integrity Commission and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption be strengthened.
With regards to the OCG, the report says the country should consider carrying out institutional and legislative reforms necessary to separate the National Contracts Commission from the OCG.
This, in order to provide the oversight body with the power and authority to halt or regularize a contract or licence award that exhibits signs of corruption, irregularity or impropriety.
The report also suggests that sanctions for breaching the Contractor General Act be updated.
And, it says the lack of prosecutions being carried out by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for corruption and corruption-related offences, must be addressed.
It says all the oversight bodies should be provided with the resources necessary for the proper performance of their functions.
It recommends that the Integrity Commission should consider establishing a website for its oversight body.
The report says this will establish and implement an awareness building program to inform individuals on the way in which they may submit complaints on alleged acts of corruption carried out by parliamentarians.
It says that oversight body should also be given the power to impose administrative sanctions for the late, or non-filing of a declaration by a parliamentarian.
In addition, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption is told to consider adopting a timetable for the implementation of the functions assigned to it as the designated authority under the Protected Disclosures Act of 2011.
The Auditor General’s Department was told to consider concluding the approval process by the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Cabinet, regarding the proposed new organizational structure of the office.
The report also encouraged the implementation of a code of ethics for Senators and Members of Parliament, including sanctioning mechanisms for violations.